The main goal of this project is the academic analysis and accessibility of the more than 10,000 Dutch and Flemish paintings in the Italian public domain at a regional level. As a result, this largely unknown but fundamental part of the Dutch and Belgian cultural heritage, which was exported to Italy or produced there, will become more accessible and recorded in text and image for the international academic community and the public at large by means of a regionally produced English-language publication.
Thanks to the centuries-old commercial and artistic relations between the two traditionally most important areas of art production in northern and southern Europe, Italy can boast a unique art heritage that is as exceptional in an art historical sense as in an artistic one in this area. It involves a huge number of paintings dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries, spread over churches, monasteries, museums, town halls and villas throughout Italy.
Among these are works by the most celebrated Dutch and Flemish masters, but also by lesser known greats. It was not uncommon for a considerable amount of these works to be kept stored under a wrong artist’s name in museum repositories, as a result of which the paintings have been rarely studied and remained obscure or escaped the attention of specialists and other potentially interested parties. The works of art in question fall under the jurisdiction of the Italian state, the church, Italian municipal, regional or other local authorities and can also be found, in addition to museums, in churches, monasteries, town halls and villas.
Part I on the Liguria region, containing 441 paintings, was published in 1998. Part II, covering 909 paintings in Lombardy, was published in two separate volumes in 2001-2002.
Part III about Piemonte covers 1063 paintings and has been published in two separate volumes in 2012. Parts IV (Veneto), V (Emila Romagna & Tuscany) and VI (Lazio) are in preparation.